The following tribute to the late Tom O'Meara was prepared by Tom's older brother Mike O'Meara OAM, the Parade College Captain of 1965;
Tom grew up in Thornbury where he attended St Mary’s Primary School in High Street with the Good Samaritan nuns. He went on to St Colman’s in 1961, before becoming a Paradian at the Old Bluestone Pile in the following year.
He enjoyed his time at Parade, taking part in most sports and clubs. He performed well academically, although a footnote from Brother McCarthy on his Leaving mid-year report caused some consternation for his parents:
“I do not believe Tom is studying hard, and I fear his interests are divided. Do you let him attend meetings on week-nights and go to dances?”
In any event, Tom matriculated in 1965 and chose a teaching career through the Melbourne University Teachers’ College. He was halfway through his course when he was called up in the conscription ballot. The Army deferred his enlistment, so after finishing his training and a year teaching at Birchip he joined the Army Education Corps and was posted to PNG as one of many chalkies in Port Moresby. Tom finished up his Army service as a sergeant.
After leaving the Army in 1973 he resumed his secondary teaching career. Now married, he taught in the UK for some five years before returning to teach at Pembroke Secondary College (later Yarra Hills). At the time of his retirement he was Campus Principal at Yarra Hills Mount Evelyn.
In retirement he indulged a love of local history, becoming president of several historical and heritage groups in the outer east.
Tom died unexpectedly on 18 March 2019. At a large funeral service he was fondly remembered by all as a warm, good humoured and caring educator, whose life added meaning to all who had encountered him.He is survived by his wife, two children and four grandchildren. He will be sadly missed.
Images: Tom O'Meara (courtesy Mike O'Meara); the O'Meara brothers, Group 1 Matriculation class, 1965. Tom stands to the far right, Mike to the far left.